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Carey rediscovers scoring touch

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CANTON — Snapping one of the longest goal-scoring droughts in his career at St. Lawrence University was a “big relief” for senior Greg Carey.

Now the senior winger, a Hobey Baker Award candidate for the second consecutive season, hopes this will spur on his scoring touch even more.

“I hadn’t scored in a while and I’m trying to contribute to the team in that area of my game,” said Carey, who scored in the second period of a 2-2 draw with Harvard on Saturday night to tally his first goal in 10 games. “But we’ve won some big games when I haven’t scored. It’s exciting — I’m happy to be back on the board.”

Carey, who last year led the nation in goals (28), has 15 tallies through 30 games this season, and is second on the team in goals to younger brother Matt Carey (17).

“It’s huge,” St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel said of Greg Carey breaking out of his goal-scoring slump. “He’s always been a guy who scores in bunches and we could use a bunch this weekend. For us to win, he’s got to be scoring goals.”

Yet the drop in his goal production doesn’t seem to faze the older Carey, who is tied for second in the country in assists (33) and is ranked third in points (48).

“I might be getting a little more attention this year,” Greg Carey said of opposing defenders. “And it’s been tougher for me to get pucks through ... it’s nice that pucks are going in the back of the net for other guys.”

In fact, Carey’s assist total is a career high and he’s only three points away from equaling his single-season high in this category.

“It is different,” Greg Carey said of his bevy of assists. “But we’ve guys putting in pucks in the net. With our first-line power play we have a lot of goals up there, so guys are finishing.”

Yet the elder Carey and the Saints (11-15-4, 5-9-4) know they’ll have to revive their offense with ECAC Hockey games at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union tonight and Saturday night, both at 7, after the team generated only three goals in two games last weekend in a loss to Dartmouth and the tie against Harvard.

“We can score goals, we’re never worried about that,” Greg Carey said. “I think this weekend is a tough trip in going to play RPI and Union. We expect some hard games and we’re just going to try to do what we do — capitalize when we get our chances and try and win the special teams battle.”

“Those were all on the power play, we didn’t score an even-strength goal, which is a little disconcerting,” Carvel said of last weekend. “But I think we had over 40 shots each night ... and if we keep doing that and keep playing physical we can have some success.”

While St. Lawrence will look to get its offense back in gear, their defensive effort of late has been encouraging. After struggling on defense for much of the middle of the season, the Saints have allowed only 13 goals in their past six games.

With four games remaining in the regular season, the ninth-place Saints can still earn home ice for the first round of the playoffs as they trail eighth-place Brown by a point, although the Bears own the tiebreaker.

The Saints are 7-6-3 on the road this season, including 2-1-1 in their past four league games away from Appleton Arena.

“It seems like we have a good formula on the road which has led to success,” Justin Baker said. “People definitely take their time to really focus on what they have to do. We have to keep this going so we carry it over when we play at home next week.”

BAKER, BAYREUTHER ON THE MARK

Baker (8-22-30) and freshman defenseman Gavin Bayreuther (7-22-29) rank second and third, respectively in points among defensemen in the country.

Baker has generated 10 points, including seven assists, over his past five games.

Bayreuther, who stands tied third in the league in points (22) and second in assists (18) behind leader Greg Carey, is also tied for eighth among freshman nationally in points per game (0.97), with Matt Carey second among first-year collegiate players in goals (17), points (33) and points per game (1.10).

POWER PLAY STILL TOPS

The Saints’ power play, which had been over 30 percent in efficiency for several weeks, is near that mark again as it checks in at 29.7 percent.

St. Lawrence, which went a collective 3-for-13 on the power play last weekend, is tied with Minnesota State for the most man-advantage goals (43).

FAMILIAR FACE

Former St. Lawrence forward Max Mobley has been in town serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Saints.

Mobley, who skated in 11 games with the then Thousand Islands Privateers after he was acquired from the Danbury Whalers last February, played two games this past fall with the Huntsville Havoc of the SPHL and later on appeared in five games with the St. Charles Chill of the CHL.

Chris Fitz Gerald covers St. Lawrence hockey for the Times. He can be reached at cfitzgerald@wdt.net

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